Dear Dr Laura: I’m 15. My parents have been divorced for about 10 years. My mom tells me things and then says, “Don’t tell your dad.” I live with my dad, while my mom lives in another state. I know it’s wrong to do this, but what should I say when my mom says these things?
Answer: “Mom, I love you. But, Mom, I have a problem. I miss having a mom living in my home or even in my city. In my desire to feel you close I have listened to your secrets, and kept them from my Dad. Now that I am 15 I realize that I need you as a Mom, not as a friend confiding in me about things I have to keep secret from my Dad. So I hope you will understand when I stop you mid-sentence when you’re telling me things I really shouldn’t know. I hope you can be, even at this distance, more of a Mom for me — because I need that.” Dear Dr Laura: Why do grown children of divorce, who were raised by one parent exclusively, migrate to the absent parent when he did finally show up after 12 years of no visitation or interest? It’s been a source of hurt for this parent who did it alone.
Answer: Children always have a hold in their hearts where that other parent should have been. If they have the opportunity to fill that hole — they’ll likely take that opportunity. It is not a slap at you; it is a yearning for the “wholeness” that having that parent in their lives finally can bring.